Monday, May 23, 2011

The Wind Screams With Me

So I was planning on a happy or funny post today before last night happened.

If you've read the news, or live anywhere near me, you know that my area of the country was struck with absolutely terrible weather last night. A city not too far rom mine was nearly leveled last night. It was terrible. In the midwest, in the springtime, its not unusual to get severe weather. It is, however, strange to get such severe weather that one storm can flatten an entire town. I mean, this wasn't a tiny town. It had like, 50,000 people in it. That's a big storm.

Of course, by the time the storm hit that city, there were warnings coming fast towards the city Ilived in. The counties all around us were getting tornado warnings. We were expecting ours at any time.

Now, I used to never have a problem with tornados. I really didn't. Mom's second husband, 2.0, was a weather spotter. I grew up listening to storm scanners and hearing stories about tornados. Punk was always afraid of them, but when the scary stuff started when I was a little girl, I was at the picture window in my front room looking out at the sky. When I was a teenager I went out with my friends and drove outside the city to watch the scary stuff from far away. It was stupid, but then, who isn't stupid when they're a teenager? I will say this, we did see a tornado a little too close for comfort about the time I turned 18 and it spooked me enough I didn't go looking for them again.

As an adult, I really don't like them. Its not the tornado itself. I'm relatively secure in my karma, and I figure if its my time to go, then it is, right? But what does frighten me is that I have people I love now, people I don't want to leave, people I wouldn't be able to bear the loss of. I have a home and secure employment and a vehicle that runs well. I have a start on a decent amount of savings. In one night, hell- in less than an hour, people who live just a city or two away from me lost all of those things. I grieve for them because they are facing what I fear the most.

Here's the rub: Kitten is terrified of storms. I mean blind panic terrified. I'm not sure how Oscelot feels about it, honestly. She looked scared and sick, but then, she's been sick for three days now. What I do know is that once we started getting reports ffrom the nearby cities about the damage and how bad the storm was, the girls didn't want to stay home. We don't have a basement, there aren't really any interior type rooms. Our house is a hundred years old, it isn't laid out with hallways. That's not how things worked back then.

So the quest for somewhere safe to go began, and the packing of necessities, and the great wrangling of the cats. Honestly, I wanted to be at home, but sometimes you make sacrifices for the people you love, so they feel better. This was one of those times. So Kitten, Oscelot, our five cats and myself piled into our Frontier, and off we went. Kitten originally wanted to go to her Dad's house. He was at church. Then she wanted to go to Precious, her best friend, because she had a storm cellar. She had told us we could come by. When we got there Kitten took one look at her house, surrounded by old trees and power lines and said hell no, and so off we went, back across town again, to Kitten's mom.

During this time, over the terrified wailing of the cats, Kitten and Oscelot were on their phones calling people and texting them. There was a monsoon going on outside and Kitten was texting, calling and driving. She hates that. Tells you how scared she was. I called Sakura to make sure he was safe, because he was on the road home from out state capital, and I called Black Magic, although I don't think she appreciated it, (that's a story for another day) and then I called my grandmother. Once I had ascertained they were all as safe as they were going to be I sat and watched out the window and texted The Lifeguard.

She had stopped back by the house after coming back from a roller derby bout in Oklahoma City. Thank god, she dodged their bad weather, our bad weather, and in the end only got stopped shortly outside of St. Louis, so I was greatful at least for that. Now, as much as I am not an advocate of texting and driving, last night I was greatful The Lifeguard did for me. I told her she could just let me vent, and ignore it, but I needed someone I could vent to and it couldn't be someone stuck in the storm with me.

I don't like admitting I am frightened. I sure as hell won't do it when my partners are frightened too. Its my job to take care of them and be strong for them, so when stuff like this happens I try to go to my happy place and be tough for them and fall apart later. It wasn't the storm that scared me, honestly, we were headed somewhere safe and that was fine. Part of it was the panic I saw in my girls' faces. Part of it was that I don't want to loose my house and my livelihood. Part of it was I don't want to loose my friends and family. I got to thinking about the few things I would regret if anything did happen, and that scared me too.

The Lifeguard saved me last night. I can usually hold it together. But there was soemthing about the non-stop lightining, being stuck in monsoon force rain in a truck with two frightened women and 5 howling cats that broke me. I was really, really greatful for her last night.

In the end I spent most of the evening in Kitten's mom's living room floor teasing my cat Evelyn, talking to Mom and Kitten and Oscelot and texting The Lifeguard. I even got a shot of a beautiful rainbow just as the storm ended. I saved iot as the background on my phone. (to my local readers, no it wasnt the double rainbow that everyone seemed to be posting about on fb either) I am okay, for the most part, as long as I can watch the weather coverage on the news (we go to round the clock coverage in circumstances like this) and have someone to chat to, it turns out.

I woke up this morning feeling very greatful. I am happy to have good friends, a good family, my home and my job. I thought about it, and you know, I think I'm a pretty happy woman. Today I want to make it a point to tell people thatI care about them that I do. I can't always count on dodging the bullett.

Iw ill say this, I am happy to think of moving to the west coast, where this hardly ever happens. Seriously. Until then, I'll just have to be thankful for the few coping mechanisms I have, and hope my luck doesn't run out.

Stay Safe, Y'all.
I Love You.

I might note that the tornado was helead story on NPR this morning. If you want to read actual news about it, you can find it here. Also, relief effort will be ongoing. Get involved if you can.

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